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PA Cyber alumni airs new radio show while pursuing doctorate

Mar 15, 2018

As a youth, Daniel Esterly had trouble focusing in class.

“I couldn’t pay attention,” he said. “The style of learning didn’t catch my attention.”

The Robinson Township resident began to flourish after making the switch from traditional public school to PA Cyber, a Midland-based online charter school. He went on to graduate in 2007.

Still, he felt light-years ahead of his peers. Having a dual high school credit option exposed him to college at a young age. He started classes at Robert Morris University at age 16 and had a semester completed after graduation.

“It was a really good option for me. Had I stayed in [traditional] public school, I wouldn’t have had that option,” said Esterly, now 27 years old. “I had no idea that school could be like that.”

He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in community engagement at Point Park University and holds a master’s degree in counseling from Carlow University, an MBA in healthcare management from the University of St. Mary, and a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology from Robert Morris University.  

Through Point Park, Esterly recently started his own local radio show, “Behavior Business.” His one-hour slot airs at 2 p.m. Sundays on 670 AM Pittsburgh and can be live streamed online at The show touches on topics of psychology and business.

He also started a consulting business doing organizational consulting, marketing and research for profits and non-profits. He has a few clients, including an engineering firm and an energy incubator.

“I help operations run smoother. I’m a contractor, a one-man business that goes to these businesses to provide whatever they need.”

Because of attending PA Cyber, Esterly said he felt more in charge of his education and the freedom to discover and pursue his own interests.

“I remember having the headset in my kitchen and that’s where I would go in the morning to do my classes,” Esterly said. “It was an empowering experience where I felt respected as a person in that nobody was hovering over me. I was learning in different styles that I wouldn’t get at a regular school. It was an eye-opening experience.”

“It really changed my life. Up until that point I was a C-average student in [traditional] public school. I had a high IQ, I just never saw myself going anywhere. I struggled with fitting in.”

Esterly’s parents didn’t think he had a good shot graduating because he was disengaged, but he insists that PA Cyber “turned that around.”

He remembers attending PA Cyber-hosted regional events, forming relationships and making friends with other classmates.  He said living near the city also allowed for him to attend youth groups, poetry readings and other social events.

“I excelled. It made me realize I can do this. It’s not me that is the problem, it’s some of the things about [traditional] public school.”

Esterly sits on the advisory board of Autism Speaks, the Glade Run Foundation Board, and the Board Development Committee for Glade Run Lutheran Services. Glade Run is a Zelienople-based mental health agency that provides care for thousands of children in the region. Esterly will soon join a national workforce committee and another non-profit board seat.

This is Esterly’s first time doing a radio show, but he doesn’t plan to stop there. He wants to continue growing his consulting business and his niche in the market. His future plans include teaching part-time and writing a book.

This is the first in a series of profiles about PA Cyber alumni.

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About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.